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1. When I Fall In Love
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2. At Last...The Duets Album
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3. The Way Up
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4. American/English
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5. Twentysomething
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6. Pure
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7. Wild Card
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8. Flipside
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9. Forever for Always for Luther
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10. Walls of Akendora [CD & DVD]
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11. Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby
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12. West Coast Coolin
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13. The Very Best of Chris Botti
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14. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
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15. Nightlife
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16. Duke
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17. Confidential
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18. Got It Goin' On
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19. Saxophonic
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20. Spin

1. When I Fall In Love
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Asin: B0002VL0K6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 23
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This is not the typical example of an artist from another genre jumping on the crowded standards-and-ballads bandwagon. When I Fall in Love instead represents an instrumental stylist busting out of a box to find a much more suitable platform for his craft. These tracks are the fruits of an obvious labor of love for everyone from the featured musicians to the arrangers to the engineers. The arrangers, particularly Billy Childs and Gil Goldstein, give Botti's trumpet a broad-brushed orchestral backdrop that allows him to emerge from the swirling strings and bouncy horns with bold strokes of creative improvising. Some tracks are obvious nods to Gil Evans and the lush arrangements of 1970s CTI recordings. Even the guest vocalists, Sting and Paula Cole, let his trumpet sing first before their respective cues on "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" and "What'll I Do." The only blemish here is the obvious attempt at smooth jazz airplay with Sade's "No Ordinary Love." --Mark Ruffin ... Read more


2. At Last...The Duets Album
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Asin: B00064K2RQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 147
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3. The Way Up
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Asin: B0006M4SO6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 363
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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For nearly 30 years, guitarist Pat Metheny and his longtime musical cohort, pianist/keyboardist Lyle Mays, have covered an incredible amount of diverse material. On their debut recording for this label, they and their international group--bassist Steve Rodby, Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, Vietnamese trumpeter Coung Vu, and the Swiss-born harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret--distill that diversity into a continuous 68-minute opus. The challenge here lies in sustaining the melodic narrative thread while keeping the sound of surprise.Thanks to Mays's evocative pianisms and Metheny's array of acoustic, electric, and synthesized guitars, the group pulls it off.For Metheny fans this disc contains elements of his most acclaimed recordings, from the straight-ahead swing of Question and Answer and the folk-fusion of Offramp, to the Afro-Latin tinges of We Live Here, the atonally adventurous Zero Tolerance for Silence, and the Asian impressionism of Secret Story. --Eugene Holley, Jr. ... Read more

Reviews (117)

5-0 out of 5 stars The album I always hoped they would make
I have been a Metheny Group fan since I first heard "Still Life (Talking)" and "The First Circle" in the mid-80's.These guys always find melodies and changes that sound so logical they seem almost obvious, both when they really are obvious and when they are something we have never heard.For those of us who crave the "new" part of the equation, the transitional segments that occasionally pop up towards the end of medium-length compositions like Minuano (Six-Eight), The First Circle, And Then I Knew, or Lyle Mays' Highland Aire are like that whiff of pine-scented air you sometimes catch in the spring.

May I present an entire cedar forest.Flawless, exhilarating performances, crisp and rich recording, and composition that you can get lost in after repeated listening.Music that is both cerebral and moving.The Group doing what they were always capable of, but never inclined to do before: a work that's long but not stretched, organized but not predictable, tonal but not too sweet, exciting but not raw, thematic but not repetitious.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cocktail of Sounds
You take Imaginary Day , Speaking of Now , We Live Here , add some wild Trumpet and sequence touches and Voalá : The Way Up is Sea Level ... Not bad for a rainy day ... The art work is All The Way Down ... So , not everyday is kind of wonderful , so what , still , good music from some of the best players and writers of the moment ... For lack of Weather Report , get Pat Metheny Group ...

4-0 out of 5 stars Orchestrally amazing, but missing something
I've heard this album so many times I can't even begin to count.I feel bad giving this album 4 stars because I hold Pat to standards miles above everyone else.So this review is based on Pat's standards; keep in mind that it's still a piece of music far beyond the capability of anyone else alive.

This album is basically a bunch of different sections that weave in and out, sometimes overlapping.It works quite well actually--but the middle section is just simply too long and missing that emotional level that usually exists in Pat's music.The intro and closing are fun to listen to because they are busy with strumming, odd beats, full chords and buildup.The first six minutes of Part One introduces the simplest yet most prevalent theme on the album that's played over and over in many different contexts, and almost sounds progressive-rocky.Yet after this section dies out, I feel as if I'm walking across a very long desert.There's a couple of rocks here and there, but mostly it's just a flat walk.I want the moutains that Metheny creates--I don't want to get bored.

The straight-ahead jazz sections kind of pop out of nowhere, and I almost feel like he put those in there as a response to people calling his music cheesy (which it sometimes is, but we learn to get past that).The Way Up definitely has its share of beautiful sections--the pinnacle I'd say being in Part Three (the closing) starting around 7:45 or so when all of the themes sort of come together and build up to a climax.

There's no doubt that Metheny is a master of composition and his instrument.I don't think he went in over his head with his album.I think he was trying to not keep the middle section "too busy," but in doing so he kind of left an opening that needs to be filled somehow.

Just a quick recap on the musicians: Antonio Sanchez (drummer) is out of this world on this album.Cuong Vu (trumpet) makes some really well-fit-in background noises and adds color to this album that no other trumpet player can do--his range isn't amazing, but that's not what he's here for.Lyle Mays takes more of a background approach in this as well--he has a few solos, but nothing extraordinary.Gregoire Maret (harmonica) has his moment of glory, and it sounds nice and Western (because that's how harmonicas sound to me), but I get a little bored when listening.Steve Rodby holds his fort down, and has a little solo where the bass plays the melody (I love this part) in what I call the "whale section"--it kind of reminds me of whale song.And Pat is at his best with soloing here, although I feel like more recently he plays the same licks more and more often.With the exception of his solo in Part One at around 20:00, where he plays one of the best and most melodic, unique, and well developed solos I've ever heard.

Overall, a definite must, but didn't quite live up to its year-long hype.But that would have been nearly impossible.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting.....
Having just been given this album the other day it has made quite an impression on me. Although it is not the 'highest' music I have ever heard it has many beautiful moments and the recording sounds great. I've been off listening to other things for a while so to hear the lyricism of Metheny and Mays is refreshing to say the least.
Other reviewers have described the album in some detail so I won't. What I do want to remark upon is how many reviewers seem to have a very stale and fixed idea of what 'jazz' is and how they pour scorn over anything that does not conform to their limited ideas. This attitude has been a factor ever since Davis started to experiment with different sounds and forms and has continued in the Masarlis vein, etc. So what is jazz? Does it have to be an endless rehash of bebop in 'clever' contexts - nods and winks to the establishment and those who only want to be reinforced and not challenged? Or do we have to play the same standards over and over again? How much can you do with that music that hasn't already been done now? Isn't that why a lot of contemporary jazz sounds so dead and uninspiring? Beyond which quote to pull in the next moment, the spontaneity has been left behind somewhere.
Personally, I am relieved to hear Metheny steering away from yet another 'jazz' album and towards something that's actually sort of unique. I enjoy what I consider to be the best of all musical styles - I love a taste of bebop, free-jazz, modern orchestral, baroque, prog, jazz-rock, folk or even pop. If I don't change between them fairly frequently I get bored.
So to those who deride new music of difference I wish you an eternity locked in a small room listening to the Residents. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maximal musical historisism is what you get...
if you join PMG The Way Up. It is the last 400 years of music history incorporated into multi-layers of sound, individual world class performances (I heard them in Oslo 15. May, amazing!!) and melodic simplicity as the "red thread" through the album. Buy it!

... Read more


4. American/English
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Asin: B0007QCLS6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 502
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars they used to be good
I've been a fan of Acoustic Alchemy for some time now.And I fully realize that bands need to change and evolve.However, this is most definitely a lame segue of the duo into a JazzLite phase that minimizes the impact of their ability.What sound precisely were they going for?This album makes for pleasant, non-offensive background music at best (well, except for some truly cloying and annoying vocalizations) but certainly does not merit acknowledgement as an audio treat.Sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Solid Effort
I have been a fan of AA since the days of Red Dust and Spanish Lace. This CD is their best work in several years! I especially like the first four tunes. If you listen for the structure of the melodies as well the interplay of the guitars you'll find that they appeal to your mind as well as your body. Their touring show this summer and fall should be fantastic!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Musicians, Great Songs and Great Sound
Unlike some of the reviewers of this album, I had never heard of Acoustic Alchemy until recently, when a friend recommended them.They did not disappoint.Their music is a fusion of pop, jazz and country, and they are very accomplished musicians.Furthermore, their recording is outstanding; the details of all the instruments are there and the imaging is first-rate.The only reason I did not give this album 5 stars is that some of the tracks seemed repetitious and in several of the songs, the "na nas" seemed inane and detracted from the songs.(After all, they are not Paul and this is not "Hey Jude".) However, having said that, I like this group enough to purchase their other albums.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular evolution ...
The evolution of this group has been nothing short of spectacular. I've been with them since 1989's "Blue Chip" when all the backgrounds were synth. I rank "Beautiful Game" as a pivotal point with it's more "live" group sound.

But "American English" offers a new depth. The melody lines have a timeless complexity and the spare synthesizer tracks blend just right with the live musicians.

A nice touch is drummer Greg Grainger's background vocals. I also enjoy Miles Gilderdale's track-by-track synopsis. I too plan to see them live in concert this summer.

All-in-all, Acoustic Alchemy's best yet!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good work by good musicians
Whenever I get a new cd, I always seem to compare it to the bands older music.With this album (and the former Radio Contact release), I find that each are a slight departure from what the band had been known for.

This album in particular starts to use many more electronic loops and drum sounds.Personally, I'm used to the actual musicians playing.However, the classic AA licks and melodies are still there, keeping that undeniable sound they're known for.

Don't get me wrong; the album is still innovative with tracks such as "Detroit Shuffle", "Lilac", and "14th St Carrot Cafe" which was recorded in one take, not letting us forget that the acoustic sound and live musicianship will always prevail.

In short, anything AA touches turns to gold... which is sort of what alchemy is anyway.I have come to accept this (and Radio Contact) with open arms into the AA catalog and can't wait to see them on tour this summer.

Cheers! ... Read more


5. Twentysomething
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Asin: B0001XANUI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 94
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

English singer-pianist Jamie Cullum comes into view as an already heralded jazz-pop artist, signed to a million-pound contract and riding a CD that's already registered double platinum in the UK. The "jazz" label doesn't hang that comfortably on the 24-year-old Cullum--he's more in the mold of polished lounge swingers like Bobby Darin and Buddy Greco and has more in common with, say, Billy Joel (definitely a "New York State of Mind") than any traditional jazz artist you might mention. An ironist who covers both Cole Porter and Radiohead, he's aware of the contradictions that he embodies. Those contradictions drive the title track as Cullum's lyrics plumb "twentysomething" uncertainties ("Maybe move back home and pay off my loans/Working nine to five answering phones") while moving to a mock-primitive chanted riff that's pure '50s hip. What surprises most is Cullum's emotional and musical range, and the way he combines methods to create depth and complexity. "Blame it on My Youth" is delivered with the heartfelt delicacy of Chet Baker, while his reading of "The Wind Cries Mary" suggests that Jimi Hendrix might have just about invented smooth jazz. "I Could Have Danced All Night" explodes with playful energy and creativity, launched with scat singing over a rhythm pounded out on drums and piano wood. Cullum has energy and talent to burn, plus a postmodern knack for layering idioms that signals a welcome direction for jazz-pop. As "Lover, You Should've Come Over" attests, he can also project an emotional intensity that breaks through the clever arrangements. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more

Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fresh New Talent On The Jazz Scene!
Jamie Cullum's newest CD "Twentysomething" really is something. It's something that every music lover should check out. If you give this CD a listen you will discover Jamie's excellent singing, playing, song writing, and how perfect his fresh and innovative approach towards these wonderful songs fits into the contemporary music scene.

This album is a tasty mix of excellent new material combined with classic tunes from the past to create a very interesting and enjoyable listening experience. Jamie handles all this different material with an original style that captures the listener's attention without wearing them out. Through brilliant innovation and a truly unique approach to his music, Jamie exposes the listener to a whole new landscape of musical textures, colors, and emotions that challenge and satisfy at the same time. All art forms need artists that are willing to take chances and explore new ground, and Jamie Cullum has set a course to take us listeners to uncharted musical territory. This is one CD you will be playing 30 years from now and it will be as fresh then as it is today.

If you enjoy listening to crooners and Big Band Swing, I would also suggest Monte Procopio "Swingin' With Style". His 13-piece band really swings and deserves a listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars the leader of the British modern jazz surge
Finally hitting American shops, Jamie Cullum's TWENTYSOMETHING is simply the best release so far in 2004. The original compositions -- penned by Jamie and his brother -- stand up amazingly well next to his unique interpretations of jazz standards and showtune hits. What ultimately catches you most off guard -- and holds you in their grip -- are the subtle covers of Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, and Radiohead, along with the catchy version of Pharrell's "Frontin'" (a bonus track for Americans that was the B-side of the UK "These Are the Days" single). Cullum's originality and energy are best showcased live; however, these analog recordings (under the classy, masterful production of Stewart Levine) give you an amazing sense of his development as an artist. Compared to "Pointless Nostalgic," Cullum's loosened up from his classical training, proves he's having more fun, and infuses the tracks with more emotion thanks to the scratchy, Van Morrison-esque vocals. When I first got the CD, I thought that it would just be background music for Sunday brunches and dinner parties -- but it's ultimately become the soundtrack for my life over the past three months. And as a side note -- it's always cool when you meet someone and find out that he's a really nice guy in person, and Cullum's appreciation for his fans is truly genuine. Highly, highly recommended for any music lover.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally something good
simply stated, its good, very few originals i must say but the originals are outstanding. and the arrangements of classic tunes by other famous artists are excellent. i listened to the whole cd straight through and felt it was a little weak in some areas but makes up for with his jazz/funk fusion he has througout the rest of the album. 4 of 5 stars

1-0 out of 5 stars A shoddy rehash of other's material
I've had the dubious honor of getting to listen to this CD just about daily at my place of employment. I just can't respect it. No artist should have their "breakthrough" album be around 50% covers... and even as far as some of the tracks on here being standard choices to cover (a showtune like "I could have danced all night" for example), there are also plenty of songs written to be a testament to the sole artist's talent... I can't imagine a band as pretentious as radiohead selling their work to anyone, let alone someone who plays mediocre jazz-influenced lounge music. As for Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Buckley (yes, "Lover, you should've come over" was done first by Buckley, and so well you'll understand why this CD is a debauchery just by hearing it), I'd love to know who decided allowing their songs to be rearranged and ruined here would be a fitting tribute to their memories. As for his own compositions (which I can't truly say he has, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt), they don't stay with me... they're just one more generic lounge act buzzing through the speakers, with the same piano, same haphazard lyrical rhythms... they could have been pulled from any CD featuring any member of the rat pack. This music was done best before most of us were born, and Jamie has done nothing to further the genre by my ears. He's only (appropriately given his name) culled songs from across the boards to serve his own fame. You'd be better off buying the original CDs, even with the low price of this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jamie Cullum
I heard "All at Sea" while on vacation on Long Island and instantly feel in-love with Jamie's voice. At first I thought it was a new Bruce Hornsby CD! I think Jamie should record more songs like this one! Excellent. ... Read more


6. Pure
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Asin: B0002HJF34
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 748
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The man who made R&B safe for smooth-jazz saxophonists has another possible Soul Train award winner featuring slick vocal excursions by Debi Nova and Dwele. There's also a real groove-a-thon with Bilal titled "Better with Time" that, like the lyrics state, is like an old soul record. Keyboards also stand out among these 10 tracks. Joe Sample delivers one of his patented short piano solos on the aptly titled "Stone Groove," and while Billy Preston's organ and Bobby Lyle's piano are not out front on "You Don't Have to Go Home," the aural picture they frame for the artist is masterful. James, who produced this album, has developed into a very solid contemporary jazz composer, adding spicy horn arrangements throughout that really showcase his growth in that area--particularly on "Here She Comes," which has an Incognito horn-section vibe to it. It all adds up to James's most rewarding album since 1998's Sweet Thing. --Mark Ruffin ... Read more


7. Wild Card
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Asin: B0007XBMF2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 220
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

2-0 out of 5 stars only so much wine in the bottle
There just doesn't seem to be much hope for more Rippingtons material.Take this CD and listen to it 10 times through then try to remember one melody.You can't.Now take one of the CD's from the Rippington's heyday like "Welcome to the St. James Club" or "Tourist In Paradise", listen to them one time through and I'll bet you can remember the melodies.The trouble with this new record isn't in the production (which gets 5 stars), it's in the weak writing.The hooks are there but there's no real melodies.The players seem to be held at bay as well.A guy like Eric Marienthal can play his butt off, but you'd never know that from this record where he is forced to play simple riff-oriented songs.If you're looking for background music, you may be satisfied but the Rippingtons and Russ are "Miles Away" from their best material.

1-0 out of 5 stars Another Disappointment!
The last few Ripps cd's have been major disappointments to me, a life long Ripps fan. This is no exception.
This one is the worse. I enjoy Latin flavored music but not as a major dose from Russ and the group.

4-0 out of 5 stars Russ is back...kinda...
This is probably the best release from rippingtons since black diamond.I have been listening to these guys for years.Following the music etc...and have written many reviews on here.I understand the evolution of a sound or a band, so with that I say this to russ :( i know he reads this stuff )

Your on to something... finding your roots maybe.Its nice finally to hear you play electric guitar again like you have in the past.You so good at it.. and the latin acoustic thing is great.I miss the days of hearing crickets and bugs in your music... remember how your music would kinda set a mood?You felt like you were in the congo etc..Your music was so enviromental.It took you there.Keep on mixing it up.. different musicians etc.. surround yourself with diversity or tastes and mix it up... dont copy yourself or old rippingtons sounds, its obvious.Just be like you were...creating a mood/sound and pushing the envelope with it.Dont try to follow current sounds or trends. (metheny still sounds like he did 20 years ago..that why we like him) (I remember on kilamangaro, when you had a real drummer on that one...(forgot the name, he is the drummer for sting at times).. but what a sound it made!!

Get boney james on a sax.. bob mamet on keyboards ( yes bob mamet )..You on guitar..or even borrow lyle mays....even get kenny G back...but make sure he plays old school..we dont want to hear his wimpy lulliby sax playing..old school I mean duotones and back ...that style... he was a jazz cat master at one time..now he is a pop icon...sad.

Ive said enough.. good job on this one russ....

1-0 out of 5 stars Wild Card? Nothing "Wild" about it...
I have been a fan since their "Moonlighting" album (I have them all), but after hearing the "Let It Ripp" disaster, I figured they would come back strong. I was sadly mistaken. The latin flavor is OK, but it seems to have consumed their focus, making all their music sound exactly the same. I used to buy their albums sight unseen, but those days are over. This will be the first Rippingtons CD I will not buy. I heard it one time and thought "Man, I've heard this before - it's called "Let It Ripp", and I refuse to get "ripped" again!"

5-0 out of 5 stars The Rippingtons are back with a vengence.
After several mediocre past efforts, the Rippingtons are back with a vengence with this new CD, "Wild Card." In fact, after listening to the samples on my computer, I was not going to buy this CD because it sounded awful through the small speakers on my laptop. But, I read a review on this site indicating this CD contains real drums rather than a drum machine so I took a chance, and now I'm glad I did so. What stands out about this CD is that not only are the compositions refreshing and creative, but the recording quality is outstanding. In the past, the Rippington's horn section would dominate the sound in such a way that it was irritating to listen to. However, on this CD, the horn section sounds noticably balanced, and the overall tonal quality of the sound is ear candy. If I were an audio salesman, this would be one of the CDs I'd use to demo equipment. On a personal note, I have never heard my own audio system sound better, and a couple of compositions were so well recorded you could experience transcendental moments while listening to it. The Rippingtons definitely paid close attention to the recording quality, and the second time I played this CD, it sounded even better. I was beginning to think the Rippingtons were finished as Smooth Jazz artist, and also that smooth jazz was a dying genre of music. But, with this effort, the Rippingtons have shown a bright future for themselves as well as the smooth jazz genre. If you have an affinity for smooth jazz oriented music, you need to add this one to your collection. ... Read more


8. Flipside
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Asin: B00079Z9WS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 410
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars FLIP SIDE..............
This CD is straight off the hook!That's all I'm going to say.

(^_ ^)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Master is Back
What can I say but Jeff Lorber. This guy does not make bad music. Every track sounds so different. This a peaceful and funky cd. This is a must to have in your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lobers "Flipside" and Joe Johnson" Life of the Party" are #1
I just received Jeff Lobers "Flipside" and saxophonist Joe Johnson's "Life of the Party" and Both of these CDs are really slick!!!! I'm crazy about the opening track on "Flipside" and I think this is one of Jeffs best works. Johnsons "Life of the Party" in my opinion is as good (if not better) than any of the smooth sax stuff out right now. Somebody needs to book these to guys together on tour because their CD's are out of sight!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome - Fresh - Imaginative
This CD is so funky, rare and fresh. It's my first Jeff Lorber CD although I've been listening to Jazz since I was 13. The music in this collection is new, light, and simply carries you into an alternate universe of joy and light hearted funk.What an amazing addition to anyone's listening experience.I siimply love it!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Master Returns
Picture the scene - it's a cold, wet and windy day here in the UK and I'm really down. There's a knock at the door... UPS delivery and this Masterpiece arrives. I've had this pre-ordered for 2 months now and counted the days off - well let me tell you it was worth waiting for...
The usual Lorber crew are all here - Co-production by Steven Dubin, Lenny Castro on percussion, John Roberts on drums, Alex Al on bass (only 2 tracks though,) Gary Meek on flute and saxes. You also get appearances from David Mann, Paul Jackson, JR & Robbie Nevill. New name to me Nelson Jackson also features on keys and songwriting duties. That's where the usual stops because this CD is just so superior to anything that has gone before....
You get 10 tracks of pure genius, the instrumentation and clarity of production is out of this world. This CD isn't as immediate as Jeff's previous outings and that's a good thing in my opinion because you are forced to listen and that's when you discover the magic.......
We start off with the current single "Ooh La La" which is a midtempo showcase for Lorber and Castro's great percussive sound.
Next the uptempo "Everybody Knows That" - really heavy bass sound and nice sax/piano combination on the chorus section.
"By my side" is fast becoming my favourite track - its just a beautiful song along the lines of "When she smiles" (Philly Style) and features Cello fills which make the tune.
"Flipside" is a remake? of "Uncle Darrows" (Philly Style) but with a real funky bass line and 70s sounding horn section
"Santa Monica Triangle" - has a skipping, almost Ska like beat with Lorber playing rhodes over it. Great guitar and rhodes combination in places.
"Sun Ra" is a reggae inspired tune which is again heavy on the bass and a real joyful driving song
"Angel in Paris" is slow to mid tempo and features that Cello again with subtle trumpet from Ron King -beautiful.
"Bombay Cafe" is another mid tempo workout featuring Meek & Mann on Saxes. Great trumpet also combining superbly with Lorber's piano.
"Tune 88" is a remake of the old classic but done in a very accoustic style - only Lorber on piano with Alex Al and Castro completing the line up. It's almost like a studio after hours jam and is a real departure from the furious tempo of the much sampled original tune.
"Enchanted Way" closes the set and is a 70s influenced piece of Jazz Funk - Meek & Mann on saxes.

Need I say anymore? - Lorber has raised the bar and set the standard again for the rest of the Jazz field to follow. I can't see this CD being bettered by anyone for some time. ... Read more


9. Forever for Always for Luther
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Asin: B0002B258C
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1724
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This star-studded smooth-jazz tribute to Luther Vandross adds credence to the idea that the saxophone is the instrument that comes closest to mimicking the human voice. The passion that these reed players--including Kirk Whalum, Boney James, Mindi Abair, and Dave Koz--pour into their respective tracks makes it seems like they're speaking right from the heart. Guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. does a very funky turn on "Never Too Much," and two of the most underrated singers in contemporary urban music, Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi, also provide highlights. But the sax players steal the show, trying to match Vandross's fiery intensity, while much of the rest of the cast seem content to offer basic remakes. That's not necessarily a bad thing; co-producer and keyboard whiz Rex Rideout has delivered a thoroughly enjoyable listen from beginning to end, allowing smooth-jazz fans to sing along with Vandross's very familiar catalog. --Mark Ruffin ... Read more


10. Walls of Akendora [CD & DVD]
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007X9U4W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1357
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice composition skills
Walls of Akendora is the latest release from keyboardist Keiko Matsui. It showcases her classical side as well as her jazz sense of flair. "Overture For The City" begins with a trumpet blast followed by a pulsating bass line that drives this opener to the piano of Matsui. This one's put together well and reminds me a lot of some of Mark Portman's work. It's one of the better songs on the disc. "Crystal Shadow" is a syncopated bass line that's laid down with piano and soprano sax casting the shadow. Keiko's playing is superb and plays like fine crystal in a musical setting. "Mountain Shakedown" is a repeat from a previous disc, but bodes well in the mix. "Canvas" is a mid-tempo number that rallies around the same theme and has its best jazz riffs of the whole disc. Matsui slows down the tempo somewhat for "Akendora's Clock." This one beautifully shows off her composition skills as well as her ability at piano. It builds to a near crescendo before softly fading at the end.

"Walking Through It" will probably be a show stopper on her current tour. It has that unique blend of intrigue and magic that her fans have come to love over the years. "Blue Butterfly" is an insightful look through the eyes of her piano. "Gentle Sands" is another favorite of mine here. It skips along with a nice back beat, and is accompanied by some good soprano sax. The piano doesn't take the main stage here but is instead blended with the others for an uplifting experience. The title track is deep and dark. It's musically fit for a concert hall. With its sweeping suites and rousing orchestral movements, "Walls of Akendora" showcases Matsui's classical sense. The disc finishes with " Bay of Destiny ." This seems much like the second movement to the previous song, and is layered with orchestra movements that showcase her piano. It comes back to a simple theme before closing the disc.

There's also a bonus DVD of Keiko's November 26, 2004 live performance at Bukamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo , Japan . With both the DVD and CD, this package should really make her fans quite happy.

<<< Also Highly Recommended: Mehdi ~ Instrumental Heaven Volume 7..A True Gem...Full Samples Are At (SoothingMusic.Com) ..Just Listen !

5-0 out of 5 stars Akendora...Must Be A Beautiful Place !
Matsui is always so consistent that it's hard to decide if one album ever tops another, but like most albums in her catalog, Walls of Akendora is irresistible in its execution of incredible dynamics throughout. Each song is unique, yet astounding; you can listen to them when you are sad or are in need of comfort, and the melodies will perfectly match your feelings. Matsui fanatics will no doubt be jumping all over maps of her homeland looking for a place called "Akendora," but it's a place of her own creation, where she runs to spend contemplative moments and find peace.

(...)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Amazing CD I Have Ever Owned!
Keiko has won my heart w/ Walls of Akendora. The soothing sounds have really touched me in such a way to say that this is the greatest album I own by far.

4-0 out of 5 stars A TALE OF 2 CD'S, WELCOME BACK KEIKO!
For those of you like me that missed the Keiko Matsui from the 90's, with all of those melodies and jazzy funk that would become immediately ingrained in your memorybanks, I have semi-good news: The horns and funky percussions are back. The bad news is maybe with too much of a vengeance. Starting from track #1, the songs are loud. Whistles blowing, drums banging, in one song I swear I evenheard a fax machine going off. It's almost like she said, okay, you want loud, I'll give you loud! On the plus side, the songs are catchy, with my favorite tracks being 1, 4, and 8. Having possessed this CD for only 5 days, I am already humming the melodies- a great sign. Now the best news: cd#2-she has included a dvd that showcases earlier recorded songs. This DVD is better than the BET DVD, but falls short of the "Light Above The Trees" DVD. That is untoppable. Included in CD/DVD #2 is a video movie of Keiko's "What I did on my trip to South Africa, Eastern Europe, USA, and points elsewhere". For her to share this trip with her fans is one reason why she has such a loyal following: she shows a human side and really seems to care about her fanbase (which is smart, why alienate the hands that feed?). I particularly loved the scene when she is leaving a seemingly depressed area of South Africa clad in a full length mink coat due to unusually cool temps. (PETA people disregard this last sentence). To watch Keiko interact with thecitizens of other countries, especially the South Africans, truly endears you to her. It doesn't hurt that she is also extremely attractive in the looks department. Keiko is indeed the best ambassador that Japan has blessed the world with since baseballs' Kaz Matsui. In Summary, this is the best CD/DVD since 2000, before Deep Blue. It deserves heavy FM airplay, and a place in your CD player.

5-0 out of 5 stars Walls of Akendora
Keiko's style hasn't changed over time; instead I think it has expounded upon itself.This album is nothing short of fantastic, and it has everything Keiko fans would expect from one of her albums.There are infectious grooves (Canvas, Walking Through It, Blue Butterfly), catchy melodies as always (Gentle Sands, Crystal Shadow, Overture for the City), and dramatic, emotionally charged compoisitons (Akendora's Clock, Bay of Destiny).You have to hear them to believe them.

I was especially delighted that Keiko, as she has done before, revisited another one of her previous works (Mountain Shakedown).It's great to hear the catchy melody (if you've heard Mountain Shakedown only once before, you'd recall it the moment you heard it again) receive new life on the grand piano, fifteen years after it appeared the first time on "Under Northern Lights" in 1989.

Then to top it all off, something I didn't even notice until I got it home and opened the package:a 10-track DVD of some of Keiko's most memorable songs performed in concert.And I only paid $17 for this... wow. ... Read more


11. Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00006785T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2025
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This is a real sleeper of an album, literally. Smooth-jazz musicians--including Peter White, Dave Koz, Norman Brown, David Benoit, and others--play music here to put babies to sleep. Fans of New Age music, specifically what came out of the Pacific Northwest in the '80s, may find many of these 14 tracks reminiscent of that period. Long-time listeners of smooth-jazz radio may be reminded of the kind of ethereal, spacey music that was played in the early days of the format. Many of the songs are as obvious as Brian Culbertson's somnambulating "Brahms' Lullaby" and Koz's "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," but some are inspired choices with creative arrangements and strong performances. Koz and his brother Jeff shine on the Beatles' title tune and the other Lennon/McCartney chestnut, "Blackbird." Brown's take on James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" is also moving, while not straying from the stillness of the concept. Perhaps the standout track is the superb performance of vocalist John Stoddart on Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely." --Mark Ruffin ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is probably the most beautiful lullaby collection I've ever heard. My 2 1/2 year old son absolutely adores it . . . especially the versions of Hush, Baby and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The music is far from old fashioned, yet it is amazingly relaxing and calming --- even for a very excitable little boy. While it is great for a small child, I find it the perfect music for adults to listen to when taking a nice relaxing bubble bath or trying to unwind for the evening.

I'm a huge Dave Koz fan and always adore his selection of guest artists (Peter White, David Benoit) and this CD is no exception. They all made fabulous contributions to this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indescribably Beautiful
From the first lush, bell-like sounds of "Blackbird", it's obvious that this CD is all about the lullaby. And I've never heard a prettier collection of music in my life.

Maybe it's the sentimentality of being the father of a 15-month old, but more than a few tracks brought me near to tears, and that's on the first listen. Each expressive note evokes the sounds of a small stuffed animal, mobile, etc playing those tinky notes that sounds like the sweetest music ever played. Highlights are "Blackbird", Brahm's Lullaby, "When You Wish Upon A Star", "Golden Slumber", and....."Isn't She Lovely". The soft, amazing, understated vocal for this song creates an interpretation that floored me. Be warned - you will never forget it. It's a reworking of the song that rises well above Stevie Wonder's and really brings out the words in a whole new, beautiful way.

I'm sure this is not for everyone. It's very mellow. There's no great improvisations for the jazz purists. But it's a great sound and I think every new parent should receive a copy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Get this one and for sure get ANGELS ALL AROUND too
I like this CD very much. I like it almost as much as my best lullaby CD, ANGELS ALL AROND ULLABIES, by GENIE.

I would get them both.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for new parents
This CD is amazing. My husband is a fan of David Koz and he bought this for our now 16 month old son. When I first rocked and held him to the sounds of Isn't she Lovely...I just cried at this miracle I held. The songs are very soothing, even to me and as soon as I put this CD on, my son knows it's time for sleep. Of all the many lullaby CDs I have, this is my favorite! I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very soothing music
My sister bought this for my husband and I at the birth of our baby girl. She was touched by the fact that one of the songs was titled after her neice (Charlotte's song). The CD is very soothing, relaxing and beautifully made. It's been one of our favorites all these months. If you are a "smooth jazz" fan, you'll love it! ... Read more


12. West Coast Coolin
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0002M5TC0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3363
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Album Description

Each of his five albums has charted Top 5 Contemporary Jazz and his last four have also reached the R&B Top 50. A Smooth Jazz star with a major Urban AC audience, Norman Brown follows 2002’s Grammy®-winning Just Chillin’ with West Coast Coolin’, featuring songs written by Eric Benét, James Poyser and Norman Brown himself. Renowned for his guitar sound, Brown now debuts his sexy, slick vocals on West Coast Coolin’, including a remake of Marvin Gaye’s classic "What’s Goin’ On." As West Coast Coolin’ proves, there’s no one smoother or cooler than Norman Brown. ... Read more


13. The Very Best of Chris Botti
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000069B6N
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 381
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chris Botti Rocks!!!
Chris Botti is amazing!! I saw him in concert and his album is nearly as fabulous!! A must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Botti Sampler
Want to take Chris Botti out for a test drive? This is some of his best up to the point of issue. He's recently changed labels and producing some excellent new stuff. Entertaining introduction to one of jazz's brightest new stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music from a Gentleman Musician
I first heard Chris Botti live at a free concert he gave at a shopping mall. I immediately recognized his sound from his work on various Sting albums. The music is simply beautiful.

But the thing that stayed in my mind and which prompted me to get this album is Chris himself. He's a real class act. When he was thanking his band and the audience, etc. at the end of his performance, he said a special "Thank You" to the parents in the audience who take their kids to their music leasons. I had never heard a musician say such a thing. Here's a talent who clearly appreciated his own parents taking him to his lessons, and he has the grace to thank all those parents who give their kids the gift of music. Such humbleness marks a great spirit.

So, while I really like his music and this album, I keep going back to the warm feeling I got from Botti's words of gratitude.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smooth Jazz with Substance - Plenty of Botti for your Buck
Chris Botti is a talented trumpeter who has recorded with some of the most celebrated stars in pop music history, such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and most recently, Sting. This album contains some of the best tracks off his first three solo albums which display his light and melancholy smooth jazz sound. But Botti's sound is deeper than most contemporary, popular smooth jazz - his sound has a substance that takes it beyond Muzak, and will be admired by fans of classic jazz artists, such as Miles Davis and Chet Baker.

The selections contained on this disc are fairly representative of Botti's first three albums, with the 1997's Midnight Without You having five of its ten songs reproduced here, and three songs each from his 1995 record, First Wish, and 1999's Slowing Down the World. It does not contain any rarities or otherwise previously unreleased tracks.

Also, Sting fans should note that "In the Wee Small Hours" containing Sting's vocals is not included on this disc. If you're an interested Sting fan, you should get 1999's Slowing Down the World.

Each of Botti's individual discs, including his later work (Night Sessions), are worth hearing. But for a budget-minded music fan, this may be all you truly need. At this price, it gives you plenty of Botti for your Buck. ... Read more


14. Rent (1996 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $32.98
our price: $26.49
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Asin: B000005ALT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 333
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Into Broadway's creative vacuum of revivals, movie adaptations, and Hollywood star vehicles comes Rent, the story of squatters, junkies, performance artists, struggling musicians, drag queens, aspiring filmmakers, and HIV-positives (and you thought Miss Saigon's helicopter landing was cool). Undoubtedly among the defining pop cultural events of 1996, Rent has already won four Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More importantly, it threatens to bring substance back to the Great White Way.

Transposing Puccini's 100-year-old opera La Boh&egrave;me into modern day Bohemia (19th-century Paris's Left Bank becomes late-20th-century New York's East Village where the scourge of tuberculosis becomes the plague of AIDS) Rent celebrates life among the young, sick, and unconventional. While Broadway shows are hardly the place for authentic portrayals of the latest marginalized hipsters, composer Jonathan Larson (who died at age 36, days before his musical opened) managed to sculpt vivid characters and scenes that bring Avenue A as close as it will ever come to 42nd Street. And by telling a socially relevant story of living without the guarantee of a future (renting, that is), Larson does his own little bit to define an X'ed generation. At worst, Rent is the Hair of the '90s.

For the majority of us who won't be seeing Rent anytime soon, the Original Cast Recording is more than just an after-show souvenir. Well-packaged with a complete libretto, the two-CD set is a worthwhile album separate of live performance. Full of songs that are funny and catchy, inspiring and touching, smart and hip and not overly sentimental, Rent mixes showtune pop with elements of rock, R&B, dance, gospel, and tango to make one of the best albums of the year--certainly the best rock opera in decades. La vie boh&egrave;me, indeed. --Roni Sarig ... Read more

Reviews (482)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Musical
"Rent" is the realization of the brilliant Jonathan Larson's dream based on Puccini's opera La Boheme. Larson changed the way musicals are heard by providing rock music, and modern day topics. "Rent" deals with homosexuality, disease, and growing up in America. The story follows the lives of eight friends as they try to survive in New York's alphabet city as seen through the lead Mark's eyes. Through him, we see the relationship of the friends, and love blooming, and dying, between Roger and Mimi, Tom and Angel, and Maureen and Joanne. Ex-roommate, Benny is trying to evict Mark and Roger from their loft to build a cyber-arts studio, which would displace the homeless in the area. Add in the fact almost all of the characters have AIDS, the story borders on heavy.

The story is pretty good, and it turns into a good theatrical presentation, but Larson scores with the musical making the soundtrack worthwhile. There is the heavy rock beginning in the title track, and continues to rock on with songs like "Out Tonight", "Another Day" and "Today 4 U". These songs are well balanced with slower ballads like "One Song Glory" and "Goodbye Love", with everything falling between the two. "La Vie Boheme" is a great cast cut al la Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." Larson was great at adding in humor to offset the depressing scenes throughout the story. The bonus to this album is the great Stevie Wonder sitting in with the cast for a cover of "Seasons of Love", which makes the album worthwhile all in its self.

After such a great musical, it was a shame to lose the talent of Larson. He was able to take theater to a new level, and introduce topics that have been avoided on mainstream stages. He really did bring the theater to the modern age with this musical. Add in great music, well-conceived lyrics, and a good story, it is well worth seeing live. The messages Larson tries to communicate are right on target. No day but today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bohemian Masterpiece
Rent is one of the best musicals ever, and Jonathan Larson's songs are some of the most skillful and creative you'll ever hear on Broadway. He used gorgeous melodies, vocal harmonies, and chords to bring his amazing poetry to life. The soundtrack has a wide spectrum of music ranging from upbeat songs like the title song "Rent", "What You Own", and "La Vie Boheme", and simple yet gorgeous ballads like "Without You", "I Should Tell You", and of course "Seasons of Love". Some songs always make me laugh, like "Contact" or "Today 4 U", and others ALWAYS make me cry, like "Finale B". Larson's writing is so impressive too. For example "Light My Candle" seems to be (in my opinion) a metaphorical song about taking a risk to start a relationship. And the recurring festive carol-of-the-bums "Christmas Bells" theme maybe is an ironic contrast to the struggling characters lives. And the soundtrack is so complete: there are so many memorable quotes sung by memorable characters. The voices are awesome too, and the cast blends so beautifully. My personal favorite cast member is Anthony Rapp, who is the coolest guy ever and a great singer with a distinctly awesome voice. But all of the actors have awesome voices which bring Jonathan Larson's melodies to life. And if you listen closely, you will hear that Larson subtly incorporated these melodies into unlikely songs throughout the soundtrack, just as his modern-day themes are also expressed throughout. Is that a hint of "I Should Tell You" I hear in "Another Day"? Or do I hear a short piano rendition of "Sante Fe" in "La Vie Boheme" and its intruiging percussion in "You Okay Honey"? And the "No Day But Today" theme can be heard in "Life Support" and of course "Finale B" among others. This gives the soundtrack such a sense of unity, and helps illustrate the themes of Rent, like coping with AIDS, not conforming to society, and of course the ever-important love. In this way, all the songs seem to weave together to form the final texture that is Rent. In short, Rent is a skillful masterpiece full of passion, love, and hope. And its catchy songs make it the awesome musical that it is. The soundtrack is a must for music-lovers!

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! I THINK IT'S THE GREATEST MUSICAL EVER!!!!!
<br /><br /> Rent is like the greatest musical ever!! It has drama, comedy, and romance of course. Rent is a very touching musical! I haven't seen it yet but I am dying to see it! I can't name my favorite song because I love them all!!! Adam Pascal doesn't an incredible job as Roger! Adam Pascal has an amazing voice!! I am going to get is albums soon! Anthony Rapp is really great as Mark and I love his voice! I can't name my favorite character because they are all great!! I wish that the OBC was still doing the show! And I can't wait till the Rent movie comes out next fall or winter! Some of the OBC members will star in it -Anthony Rapp,Adam Pascal,Taye Diggs,Idina Menzel,and Jesse L.Martin are going to be in it!! Yay!! I Love Rent!!

5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL
No words can express the meaning of this musical - the performers on the cast recording are excellent - the songs are heartfelt - nothing beats this one!

5-0 out of 5 stars No day but, Today
After making the mistake of purchasing the highlights cd before the full cd, was my mistake. this album takes you to where by the end of both cd's you begin to look at things differently, even if for just a moment. The album is filled with voice talents that will undoubtably shape this generation of musical theatre. I feel confident if Johnathan Larson was to choose to change his fate and see his musical, he would choose to not change a single thing that has happened in the time Rent has been on Broadway. And Rent teaches that throughout the play. A deffinite must have for fans of Broadway Musicals ... Read more


15. Nightlife
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0007DBJSW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1574
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Paul Taylors Nightlife and Joe Johnsons Life of the Party ..
I just picked up both CD's today and Man they are really smoking!!! Paul's new record is killing and I'm really loving the opening/ title track "Nightlife".This is really a class act smooth jazz CD. I see why radio can't get enough of it. I also picked up Joe Johnson's "Life of the Party"and his whole CD is totally "Off the Hook". Where did this brother come from??? These are easily the "two best" smooth sax CD's thus far in 2005...... 10 Thumbs up for "Both Artist"!!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a phenomenal album all the way through!
Paul Taylor sounds phenomenal on Nightlife! There's a good balance of smooth jazz songs as well as a few funky numbers.My favorite on here is After Hours, where everything all clicks!It has such a smooth vibe throughout and the landscapes and atmospheres in the song sound so very good. I liked his take of the Force MD's 1985 hit, Tender Love.The last song is nice too with its live percussion. Very consistent all the way through and Barry Eastmond, Dino Esposito, and Rex Rideout produced some fabulous numbers here!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Off the Hook" Jams& Intimate Vibes
Extremely nice CD for any mood you're in. Variety of sounds going.Cool surprises in the midst of the "Don't Wait Up" track. You'll never go wrong with the quality, the grooves, & the versatile styles Paul Taylor is packing!! Maxi Priest is an added treat to the whole mix with the "Tender Love" track. ... Read more


16. Duke
list price: $15.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0007US8FM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1466
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Visionary-CD&Bonus DVD- giving buyer/fans reason to buy!
Many have given decent reviews regardless of their conclusions.

1. I am George Duke fan
2. I love this project
3. I love the Bonus DVD
4. The entire package is indicative of George Duke visionary thinking and musicianship.
5. This isn't just "smooth jazz", there are certainly tracks written for the urban/R&B formats
6. All these musicians are 1st rate and I am confident (given Duke's demands as a producer/arranger) they deliver exactly what DUKE wanted
7. At times I was taken back to late 70s and early 80s. Other times I was thinking of present.


Glad to see we have some new material!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars He is soooooooooo good,on Regina's 'Lazy Afternoon' !
George is one of the most talented musicians in the world.
He is a GENIUS !
I am just wondering why he is much better when he works with other musicians such as Flora Purim,Rachelle Ferrell,Diane Reeves, Anita Baker,Marilyn Scott,Regina Belle...he must ...love these great Ladies of Jazz:-)
He gives them his best,great guiding concepts and all his inspiration. But when it comes to his own recordings,there isnot too much left for...himself and he sounds a little weak,samey and kind of conventional and commercial,just the opposite of some previous works( remember his glorious 'Face the Music'?). Without mentioning his superb job as arranger and pianist on Regina's 'Lazy Afternoon'. A true gem,a very adventurous and nonconformist masterpiece..(despite all the 'terrible' and inadequate things written about it by the 'Reviewer' named 'DUCE'..Is he...Mussolini?!..)Or that fabulous
track 'Just The Two of Us' from the tribute CD 'To Grover with Love' with Belle and Steve Cole....
I am not saying that 'DUKE' is not good,but is not good enough.
He CAN do anything he wants,he can play with the best musicians..
I'd suggesthim to call up all the fantastic ladies he has been working with ( I would include the not forgotten superb vocalist Miki Howard ) and release a CD 'The Duke and his Ladies'..For sure it would be much more interesting and spectacular than the horrible and too ostentatiously advertised 'Genius loves Company'.
I'm waiting for this ! Positive !

2-0 out of 5 stars George, George, George ...
DISCLAIMER: I hate smooth jazz with a passion so if that's a musical style you like please discard this review.

To me George Duke is one of the best keyboardist on this planet and after his excellent album "Face the Music" I was expecting something of that caliber with "Duke". To my disappointment this album is pre-formatted for your local smooth jazz station and to me that is such a waiste of Mr Duke's talent. I was expecting more tracks like "Somebody's Body" or "Hybrids" where Duke's creativity really shows, killer synth lines, a mix of RnB and fusion, great vocals ... in a sense the music of the George Duke we all know. Nice vibe in "Sausolito" too.

IF YOU LIKE SMOOTH JAZZ THIS IS FOR YOU ... OTHER THAN THAT STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE SAVE A FEW TRACKS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Glorious George!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After entirely too long an absence (or more pointedly, because of the lack of an adequate PR machine, especially for someone of George's caliber) George is MORE than back with his latest project "Duke."

In a word, eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeexcellent!!!

George includes his usual eclectic mix of R&B, jazz (both contemporary as well as traditional), salsa, blues,gospel, hip-hop - and weaves it all into a cohesive, exuberant, exciting, smooth, educational and ultimately feel good project that his extensive fan base will simply adore. Of particularly interesting note is "Hybrid", reminiscent of "The Black Messiah" cut on his "Face the Music" project. These two pieces are excellent examples that musical structures like symphonies and movements are not necessarily reserved for classical music.

From the opening strains of "Trust" a wonderful vehicle for George to do what he loves best, knock himself out on the keyboard, the listener is practically guaranteed a wondrous listening experience and Duke does not disappoint. He also includes an awesome reading of Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman" competently accompanied by none other than Eric Berry, (oh, 'scuse me, I meant, Eric Benet.)

I highly recommend without qualification this project.For George Duke aficianados, this is no more than a promise fulfilled.For those of you looking for quality jazz entertainment, you need look no further.Having listened to George Duke for at least the last 30 years, I am still amazed at the level of creativity still most evident in his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant....
This CD, from track 1 to track 11, is a total listening experience. My wife and I love it!!Favorite tracks are T-Jam ( I first heard this cut on the Smooth Jazz Channel), Somebody's Body and Hybrid. The 'Superwoman' remake is very nice. And the bonus DVD--I love it!! I highly recommend this CD!! ... Read more


17. Confidential
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001IN10M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1056
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

What separates White from the crowded pack of smooth-jazz guitarists is his exquisite sense of melody. That skill is on full display on Confidential, easily the most well-rounded album of White's career. Among the highpoints here is the return of vocalist Christopher Cross, who shines on a cover of Brenda Russell's light bossa nova tune, "She's in Love." Other guests include pianist Brian Culbertson, who offers a Bob James-like solo on the title track, trumpeter Chris Botti ("Stormfront"), and saxophonist Mindi Abair, who graces "Are You Mine." But it's White's lines that soar throughout, like melodies in search of words. --Mark Ruffin ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Confidentially, This Is A Hit!
This is Peter White's best effort since Perfect Moment was released in 1998. In tracks such as Talkin' Bout Love, How Does It Feel, and Confidential, he gives us the familiar and beautiful Peter White touch. His playing is up front and in the lead, with the rest of the music surrounding his melodies, complementing and contrasting them.

In other tunes such as, Are You Mine, Lost Without Your Love and Endless Journey, he is content to let other artists have the spotlight. Of special note are Mindi Abair, Brian Culbertson, Michael Paulo and David Sparkman. Chris Botti's playing on Stormfront is the perfect compliment to Peter's gentle, understated rhythm.

This is a mature and beautiful collection of music and is highly recommended. Bravo, Peter White!

4-0 out of 5 stars Soothing...let go, and enjoy Mr. White's gift
I've always loved Peter White's work. His "Caravan of Dreams" and "Perfect Moment" are my two favorite works by him. "Confidential" isn't either of these, but it sure comes close enough to satisfy anyone who's a fan of White.

My two top picks from this CD: 1.) The aptly titled "Swept Away"...I sure was. 2.) The oh so sweet and seductive "Stormfront" is...well...just listen and enjoy. Both tracks are similar in that they're a bit more mellow (but both are just beautiful), but don't worry, Peter has much more "jazzed up" tunes on this as well; "Jump on It" is fun and playful, and "Coast Road Drive" opens the disc nicely. "Are You Mine" is also a nice toe tapping standout tune.

Another nice surprise was having Christopher Cross "guest star" on "She's in Love", probably the most radio friendly tune (but still not bad).

Peter White fans won't be disappointed, there's enough here to enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Fan!
I have been searching for this type of guitar music for a long, long time. (spending quite a bit of money along the way) I saw a segment, of Peter's music, on a public tv show, a couple of days ago. I was so taken in with how smooth and pure the sound was that I bought 1 CD for myself and 1 for a hard-core jazz friend!

With this music playing, one can envision him/herself toolin' down the open freeway~sunroof/windows pulled back/down, music turned up, sun setting in the orange hued horizon and the cool breezes swirling all around....This music has the ability to transport you, without leaving the confines of the room...

Well worth the investment!Wish I knew about him earlier!An amazing talent! CONGRATS PETER ON A SENSATIONAL CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh, uplifting, fantastic
Peter White does it again. Love this music, great to hear some vocals on a few of his songs. Not just sofa music. Keep this coming Peter!

3-0 out of 5 stars Over-programmed...
Peter White tried to create a "gentle-touch" atmosphere on his latest recording Confidential. Did he succeed? To some extend, and on those tracks that are not so much drum-over-programmed as the first three. If he had used less programming in favor of acoustic instruments (at least on drums side) that would create much better exposure to the confidentiality of White's music...

Vocals on Lost Without Your Love are not different to the most of smooth jazz recordings. Accordion creates an intimate atmosphere on Swept Away. This is probably the most romantic track on the disk.

Overall, Confidential is an OK background music that is better listened to with the volume knob down to avoid boredom of the programmed drums. Listening to the disc on a good audio makes it noticeable that the drums are not only over-programmed, but also over-emphasized - their artificial sound hangs in the air over the mastery guitar work of Peter White. So, if you aim at guitar jazz you better try in other place. Why doesn't' Peter White make a mainstream jazz recording once in a while? ... Read more


18. Got It Goin' On
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007GAETO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1548
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Got It Goin On is the culmination of Chieli's evolving vision for instrumental music. Featuring such special guests as hit-making saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Marion Meadows, guitarist Steve Oliver, and bassist Gerald Veasley, all solo recording artists in their own right, Chieli explores many facets of his musical world. For instance, "Love Is Always Young" is a beautiful version of a song written by his father, the noted Italian born composer Ulpio Minucci, when he was in his eighties. Chieli’s father had an impressive career in the music business and wrote songs for such stars as Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Julius La Rosa. "I could write a whole chapter on my Dad's life in music and his inspiration on me," Chieli says. " I felt a guitar rendition of his song would say enough about how I feel."

There are also good-time funk tracks such as "Good Times Ahead" and "Juice" as well as interesting re-imagining of "Still Waiting," one of Special EFX's signature tunes which is notable for the way it juxtaposes uptempo percussion and drums against semi-classical chord movement. Philip Hamilton delivers an impressive vocal on the studio version of the arrangement Chieli and his band have been playing in concert. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Smooth Jazz Guitarist
What a gem. Minucci is one skilled guitarist. This disc really packs a punch.My favorite tracks are: "Good Times Ahead"," Chic",
"The Juice" and "Denial". What stands out for me is the great arranging and musicianship on this CD. Chieli Minucci just gets
better and better. His fingers "fly" across the fretboard when
playing lead. The disc is great driving music. To date, I find this to be Minucci's best CD. For the lover of smooth jazz guitar, this CD is a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars Musical Mastery
Outstanding music, a "must have" for anyone enjoying fusion in intense and complex compositions that are very pleasant to listen to with a groove to match. I must admit, I got up and started dancing with my wife while listening to several tracks on this CD. It also sounds great when you're driving down the highway. "Chic", the title cut "Got It Goin' On", "Stars in Your Eyes", and "Good Times Ahead" are really great funky and jammin' songs featuring Chieli's guitar mastery."Love Is Always Young" is a beautiful melodic song written by his father, Ulpio Minucci, and lyricist Mark Roberts. "The Juice" track is sweet to hear the way Marion Meadows and Chieli play together on it, along with Jerry Brooks. Jerry and Gerald Veasley have a intense "battle of the basses" on the track "Deeper Than Deep"--truly awesome! This CD is loaded, as is typical of Chieli's productions, featuring an array of talented musicians like David Mann, Kim Waters, Jay Rowe, Steve Oliver, Philip Hamilton, Jeff Kashiwa, and Lionel Cordew."Denial" is a fun song to tap your feet to and "Destiny" is a unique one to listen to.Finishing out with "Still Waiting", a nice arrangement of one of the tracks from "Special Delivery", Special EFX's first record, this one highlights Philip Hamilton's vocals and sounds great on this CD, as well as when you hear it played live.Believe me, this one is staying in my CD player for awhile!

4-0 out of 5 stars Still Got It Goin On!
Chieli is back with his unique style. There are several classic
Chieli tracks mixed with some Special FX styles. This is a nice
mix of both. Chieli also does a great job of mixing it up with
other smooth jazz artists. Another work of art! Good luck finding this retail! I think I got the only copy in AZ. Just save yourself the trouble and order it here @ Amazon.


... Read more


19. Saxophonic
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000CABB5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 875
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars No doubt, Dave Koz is The King of "Smooth Jazz"!
I listened to Dave's new CD, and as usual, he's out done himself again. He just get's better and better with each CD.
Dave, and his brother Jeff, with the help of Brian Mcknight, Jeff Lorber, Culby, and the other writers who contributed to this CD, have done an outstanding job. There are no "bad" songs on this CD, in my opinion. From the very first time I popped it into my player, I was hooked! The cord progressions and arrangements of the chorus parts, (which Dave doubles up on his sax), are just pure genius. But what do you expect with the guy's he's got working with him. If I could be half as good a writer and arranger as these guy's, I would be truly blessed with mad skills. My favorite tracks are: "Love Changes Everything","Definition of Beautiful","All I see", "Only tomorrow knows", and the sensual ballad, "Just to be next to you" makes chills come all over me. :-) This CD will bring out so many emotions in you, that's it's just unbelievable. A definate must have in your music collection. I highly recommend this CD! One last thing, if you've never been to a Dave Koz concert...GO!! Once you see this guy, and feel the energy he projects into his music, and his fans, you'll be hooked!!
NO DOUBT!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Koz Magic went Missing a Bit !!!
On the onset this CD didn't impress me, as I was expecting the same - if not more, of the kind of magic that made 'The Dance' and 'Lucky Man' etc. such great albums. This one unfortunately seemed to lack a bit of that magic. It's not that its 'bad' - its just that I was expecting more- given the exceptionally high standards of his previous albums. My first impression was exactly as one of the other reviewer's ie. it seemed as if Dave was just "fulfilling his recording contract". After listening to it in my car several times, I've grown to enjoy it somewhat- but still not as much as his previous works. Some great vocals on the tracks "Love Changes Everything" &"Definition of Beautiful". If you're an avid Dave Koz fan like me, get it. If you just getting into smooth jazz and want something really spunky by this artist, then I would recommend 'The Dance' anytime.

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrible!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree with C.M. Covias from NY. This cd is horrible!

2-0 out of 5 stars Very Below Contemporary Jazz Standards!!!!!!!!!
As I opened up this cd, I though it might be a cool contemporary jazz package. With the first song, Honey Dipped, I was rather dissapointed, but it wasn't the worst song in the world. I just said, it had its good moments, let me go to the next track. Track after track, nothing got any better. In fact, they were very much worse then, Honey Dipped. Honey Dipped actually sounded good after the next tracks popped into my ears. The rest are just very bad "new age" music influenced with, jazz? The synthesizers and electric instruments, dont make it any better. Most of this cd is, an electronic drum beat over some saxophone playing. Bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Cool CD
If you like smooth jazz, you'll love this one! ... Read more


20. Spin
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007Y8ABA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5554
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Truly Different...And Steve's Fans May Not Like It
I first heard the tune Serenity on Jazztrax.com and I decided to check out the CD. Yes, this is a very different sound than we have grown used to from Steve Cole. He says that his musical tastes and influences have changed and that is obviously reflected in the music on Spin. Most of the tunes have an acoustic pop/country flair that some of Steve's fans may not find to their liking at all. However, an artist needs room to grow and change, so perhaps as fans we can give the music on Spin a chance to grow on us. By the way, the piece Serenity is perfect example of Smooth Jazz Chill. That one will definitely be on my playlist often.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Nice Change and Worth Listening To!!!
I'm a big fan of Steve Cole and I've always admired musicians who takes risks by doing something different. This CD is different from Steve's usual R&B style to a pop/country style. At first I was surprised when I listened to this CD, but I loved every minute of it!
My favorite songs on the CD include: Thursday, The Real Me, Spin, & A Letter To Laura.
It's nice to hear something different from Steve Cole for a change. I believe it makes him a better musician than he is. Good job, Steve!

3-0 out of 5 stars Definitely not the Steve I'm used to....
I got this CD expecting to hear that Chi-town funk that is Steve's trademark sound. Its needless to say I was shocked upon hearing the first track. This is a true departure from the music that Steve's fans are used to hearing, and is actually reminiscent of Dave Koz's efforts on his "Off The Beaten Path" release. This is somewhat of a jazz-pop album, not the jazz-r&b he's known for.

After getting over my initial shock, I managed to pay closer attention to what I feel his intentions were, and, well, the only thing I can say is that he remained true to whatever he was doing. :-/

I'm somewhat disappointed, because the little musical interludes he's known for are missing from this CD, with the exception of one constant: he still maintained the two-part final track he's known for that fades in and out.

Some of his fans may take some comfort in tracks 10 and 7, since they seem to hint at his more familiar musicial style, but then again, all they really do is hint, and leave the listener wanting what they didn't get this time around. I will say though that track 5 (dedicated no doubt to his wife) is a beautiful ballad-like instrumental perfect for relaxation.

Overall, I would say this CD is simply "OK," and for a CD by Steve Cole, that isn't the best assessment. My advice to any new listener wanting to get into his music is to pick up his first three albums, to familiarize themself with what he SHOULD sound like, perhaps skip this one, and hope and pray that he returns to what made us adore his music so much to begin with.

2-0 out of 5 stars Another lost fan
Steve,

I have been one of your best fans. As a fellow sax player in the biz I can tell you this....

After owning all of your other albums I am totally lost on this one. Where is that R and B feel that all of your listeners loved? Where is Brian? Are you just trying to go the Mindi Abair route to sell some CDs? Wow man. What a waste of a 2005 release. Don't buy this CD until you preview it first!

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrendous
This is by far the WORST CD of the century, if I could have rated it a 0 I would have.At first, when I looked at the credits and didn't see Brian Culbertson name as the producer/song writer, I was disappointed because I love his style and knew the CD would be good but I figured you wanted to do it alone and bring your own style to the CD. PLEASE bring Brian Culbertson back, because you need him.What happened?I have heard you play without the help of Brian and you were just fabulous.If you want to sell any more CD's to a Jazz fan who owns all of them, choose either C&W or Jazz. Plus it wasn't even really good C&W. ... Read more


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